Unison will launch an indicative ballot to see how many members want to take industrial action after most voted against the Government’s 3% pay rise, the union has announced.
Eighty per cent of voting Unison members who work for the NHS in England called the 3% pay increase for NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts in England and Wales ‘unacceptable’, in a consultation between 30 July and 10 September.
Unison will now hold an indicative ballot to see how many health members would be prepared to take ‘sustained and widespread industrial action’ to oppose the pay deal.
The union’s head of health Sara Gorton said: ‘The fact that so many health staff say they are willing to stand together to challenge the 3% should make the government think twice. Many feel so let down they’re telling us they feel like quitting overnight.
‘Boris Johnson said he would give the NHS what it needed. Instead, rising costs mean staff will be no better off, adding to low morale, burnout and disillusion,’ she added.
This comes after the RCN has urged ministers to ‘do the right’ thing after an overwhelming majority of members voiced their opposition to the pay award last week. Of the eligible members who voted, 91.7% in England and 93.9% in Wales called the pay rise ‘unacceptable’.
The RCN has been pushing for a 12.5% wage boost since September last year, while Unison has demanded a £2,000-per-year boost for all NHS workers and GMB Union asked for a 15% pay uplift.
Unison also warned that many health staff ‘have had enough and are likely to quit for less stressful, better paid jobs elsewhere’. This would ‘spell staffing nightmares for trusts’ and ‘disaster’ for the 5.6 million people on NHS waiting lists, it added.
The Scottish Government has awarded its staff a 4% pay rise, although RCN Scotland lodged a formal trade dispute in June with the Scottish Government because of ‘serious concerns’ over pay. This came after members rejected the 4% offer.
The Government in Northern Ireland is yet to announce its decision.
Social care leaders have also warned there will be a mass staff exodus after regulations for mandatory vaccinations for care home staff come into force on 11 November.